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Infinite Crisis: The Adventures of Superman – Lightning Strikes Twice (Review)

This month I’m taking a look at DC’s massive “Infinite Crisis” Event. Although it was all published in one massive omnibus, I’ll be breaking down the lead-in to the series to tackle each thread individually, culminating in a review of the event itself. Check back for more.

I think it’s quite nice that DC went to the effort to collect the vast majority of tie-ins to Infinite Crisis inside this gigantic omnibus, even when the book didn’t necessarily get its own miniseries like Villains United or The O.M.A.C. Project. Like Sacrifice, Lightning Strikes Twice was a crossover between the Superman books leading into the events of one of the lead-in miniseries. In this case, writer Judd Winick was setting up the events of Day of Vengeance, the magic-themed crossover designed to tidy up and reenergise the mystical side of the DC Universe.

Super-punch!

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Superman: The Animated Series – Stolen Memories (Review)

This September marks the twentieth anniversary of Batman: The Animated Series, and the birth of the shared DC animated universe that would eventually expand to present one of the most comprehensive and thorough explorations of a comic book mythology in any medium. To celebrate, we’re going back into the past and looking at some classic episodes.

Superman: The Animated Series gets a bit of a hard time among the Bruce Timm “DC animated universe” shows. I think it’s fair to say that the show never reaches the highs (or even the average consistency) of Batman: The Animated Series, and it never matches the scale of Justice League, the pace of Justice League Unlimited or the ambition of Batman Beyond. However, it actually does a fairly wonderful job working with a character who has proved quite difficult to handle. I think Superman: The Animated Series was at its strongest when it distinguished itself from its direct predecessor, Batman: The Animated Series, and I think that Stolen Memoriesis the perfect example of that.

He’s got the whole world, in his hands…

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Non-Review Review: Green Lantern

Green Lantern is solidly middle of the road as far as superhero movies go. Perhaps in a less crowded (and less high quality) summer action season it would seem a stronger contender, but the film really shows as Warner Brothers’ first major attempt to produce a big-budget superhero film not directly related to Superman or Batman. It’s perfectly functional, managing to do everything it sets out to in a relatively efficient manner, but there’s never really a sense that the film exists as anything more than a series of plot points that need be checked in order for the movie to cross the finish line. Given the potential of the source material, as well as its relatively unique nature amongst the slew of generic superheroes, a functioning and formulaic adventure can’t help but feel like a bit of a disappointment.

Hal Jordan: Space Cop? It has a nice ring to it...

Note: We also have an introduction to the Green Lantern mythos available, if you’re interested in checking it out.

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Non-Review Review: All-Star Superman

March is Superman month here at the m0vie blog, what with the release of the animated adaptation of Grant Morrison’s superb All-Star Superman. We’ll be reviewing a Superman-related book/story arc every Wednesday this month, so check on back – and we might have a surprise or two along the way.

From the outset, it’s immediately clear that All-Star Superman is immensely faithful to the twelve-issue miniseries that inspired it. There are a few key deviations from Morrison’s core text – some of which were made simply to save time or money, but others which are interesting of themselves. Still, this is pretty much as direct an adaptation as we are ever likely to receive – right down to the eight-word introduction (intercut here with the opening action sequence), the power of the origin distilled down to its core attributes. So the movie, based on perhaps the finest Superman story ever told, obviously has a lot of power drawn from its roots – but one has to wonder what the real point of making an animated feature of it ever was.

Shine on...

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Superman Returns & The Question of Consent…

March is Superman month here at the m0vie blog, what with the release of the animated adaptation of Grant Morrison’s superb All-Star Superman. We’ll be reviewing a Superman-related book/story arc every Wednesday this month, so check on back – and we might have a surprise or two along the way. I figured that, today, I’d take a look at Superman-related movies.

As I was watched Superman Returns again for the first time in what seemed like years, a question occurred to me. It wasn’t exactly one that the plot addressed, but it was probably one of those idle little thoughts which is best reserved for the late hours, as one enjoys a pre-bed snack, or fodder for a wandering mind on a long bus journey. The title of this post kinda gives the game away, but read on for more.

A super night...

Note: This article contains fairly basic spoilers for Superman Returns, but I think you probably already know what I’m going to talk about.

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Superman: The Animated Series – Brave New Metropolis

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. I’ll be looking at movies and episodes and even some of the related comic books. Since I looked at Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths earlier, I thought it might be worth a look at what a world run by a well-intentioned Superman might look like.

The interesting thing about Superman is that, as a character, he’s very frequently defined by what he isn’t – or what he shouldn’t be. It’s very hard to codify what Superman is, but easy to agree on what he shouldn’t be (for example, the suggestion that Superman should be light and fuzzy is more likely to spark an argument than the observation that he shouldn’t be dark; or the suggestion that he should be a “sci-fi” hero is bound to more controversial than the suggestion that he shouldn’t be a street-level vigilante). Stories like Mark Millar’s superb Red Son define the character by what he isn’t (a proactive political figure) – while interpretations seeking to define the character in more positive terms are frequently divisive (for example, the space hero of James Robinson’s New Krypton or the “down with the people” “wandering the earth” traveler in Grounded). Brave New Metropolis follows a similar structure, in defining Superman by what he isn’t or shouldn’t be: he shouldn’t be a ruler or people.  

Lex Luthor is bald because he got sick of people holding him like that...

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Non-Review Review: Superman – Doomsday

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. This is the very first of the “stand-alone” animated movies produced by the creative team that gave us the television shows. 

Superman: Doomsday is the first entry in the range of animated DC films featuring their iconic superheroes. The line has since ballooned to feature a wide range of other heroes, with movies focusing on Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and even the Justice League itself, but Superman seemed a logical place to start. Of course, the fact that the movie came from the minds that brought us Batman: The Animated Series and the rest of the animated universe (even if it didn’t share continuity) was also a solid indication. However, there’s very much a sense of a production team attempting to find their footing. Although it’s solidly entertaining on its own terms, the film feels like perhaps the weakest entry in the selection of films. 

Well, at least he can wipe it on his cape and no one will notice...

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Superman: The Animated Series – World’s Finest (Parts I, II & III)

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. What with reviewing Superman/Batman: Public Enemies earlier, I figured it might be worth our time to take a look at the original Superman/Batman animated team-up. 

Thank you. I couldn’t have saved Lois without your help. 

I’m aware of that. 

– Superman and Batman share a moment of mutual Batman appreciation 

Superman: The Animated Series meets Batman: The Animated Series. How is that a tough sell? 

You can't outglower me, boy... in one of these animated movies I was played by Billy Baldwin...

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Non-Review Review: Superman/Batman – Public Enemies

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. This is one of the “stand-alone” animated movies produced by the creative team that gave us the television shows. 

Explain our guy love, that’s all it is.
Guy love; he’s mine, I’m his.
There’s nothing gay about it in our eyes. 

You ask me ’bout this thing we share…
…and he tenderly replies:
It’s guy love…
…between two guys. 

– Turk & JD explain “guy love” 

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies is essentially a superhero bromance. It’s part buddy cop movie, part long-term married couple, but all action. It’s not really anything more, but would you want it to be? 

He ain't heavy, he's my superpowered bro'...

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Lex is More: Bringing Lex Luthor to the Screen…

I’ve been swamped with real-world work this week, so announcing that Zach Snyder would be directing the new Superman movie and that General Zod would be the primary bad guy on Monday (and a plot synopsis on Tuesday) really threw me for a loop. Anyway, I cobbled together some thoughts on bringing Superman to the big screen. I’ll hopefully have some more general thoughts early next week.

Lex Luthor shouldn’t be so hard to get right on the big screen. I mean, it’s not from lack of trying. The character is more than just Superman’s arch-enemy, he’s a member of his supporting cast. More than the Joker to Batman, Luthor is inexorably linked to the Man of Steel – no matter which enemy is invading Metropolis, Luthor is usually helping them or hindering them or figuring out a way to turn the events to his advantage. As such, he has appeared in all but one of the live action Superman films released over the past three-and-a-half decades, even where he isn’t the main adversary (as in Superman II, where he attempts to manipulate Zod’s vendetta against Superman). And yet, despite being portrayed by two incredibly talented actors – Kevin Spacey and Gene Hackman – the big screen never managed to essence of Luthor’s character. Zack Snyder was earlier this week named director of the Nolan Superman reboot, and although General Zod was named the villain of the film I’d be fairly certain that Luthor will put in an appearance. So, how do you do Lex Luthor right?

Green there and done that?

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